2007-2008 Annual Report

Name of Section/Roundtable:  Labor Archives Roundtable

November 17, 2008


  • Name (Chair) John Hyslop  Term September 1, 2008 – August 31, 2009 
  • Name (Vice Chair) Tom Connors Term September 1, 2009 – August 31, 2010 

Report from annual meeting: 

Number of attendees: # 31 

Election results: Tom Connors ran unopposed and was elected Vice Chair 

Summary of meeting activities:  

Labor Archives Roundtable 

Annual Meeting August 27, 2008 


Meeting minutes: 

1. LAR 2007-2008 Chair Jordan Patty (George Mason University, Special Collections and Archives) welcomed the attendees, spoke about the agenda and introduced the Vice-Chair John Hyslop (Queens Library, Long Island Division).  

Attendees introduced themselves. 

2. SAA Announcements  

a. Council Liaison Margery Sly (Presbyterian Church Archives) 

i. Roundtables and sections must meet the 50 member minimum, but this may change.  LAR attendees discussed the issue and concluded the Roundtable should write a statement about changing this minimum. 

ii. SAA created a new Investment Committee to manage its investments.  Ms. Sly asked for volunteers. 

iii. SAA created two minority student scholarships worth $5,000 each. People were encouraged to apply. 

iv. SAA purchased a new content management system to control content on its website. 

b. 2009 Conference Bill Coughlin (Program Committee Member) 

i. The theme is Sustainable Archives. 

ii. Session proposals are due October 8, 2008. 

iii. Session endorsements are due October 20, 2008. 

iv. Pre-conference workshop submissions are due October 15, 2008 and should be submitted to Soveig De Sutter (SAA). 

3. Old Business

a. How to Keep Union Records publication – Jordan Patty informed us that Michael Nash (NYU, Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives) is the editor of the publication.   

i. It was submitted to the SAA Publications Committee for their review. 

ii. Mr. Nash is working on publishing it electronically. 

iii. The George Meany Center for Labor Studies is not going to sponsor the publication.   

iv. Lauren Kata (Episcopal Archives USA and representing the absent Mr. Nash) informed us that the SAA Publications Committee may have comments and corrections that will need to be fixed. 

v. She solicited images for the publication.  The images should be sent to Michael Nash at michael.nash@nyu.edu. 

vi. The publication will have a bibliography. 

vii. She also brought up the issue of SAA and a labor union funding the publication of it.  Discussion ensued with people agreeing to ask their parent union about supporting the project. 

b. Collaboration with International Council on Archives (ICA) Section for Business and Labor Archives 

i. The ICA meets every four years. 

ii. Jim Quigle was the Roundtable’s representative in the ICA section, but is stepping down from this role. 

iii. Tom Connors volunteered to take Mr. Quigle’s place. 

iv. There is talk of breaking the labor archivists out of the Section and setting up a Section on Labor and Social Movement Archives. 

v. They also would like more the Labor Archives Roundtable members to join and participate in their section. 

c. Ongoing LAR Member Projects  

4. New Business 

a. Election of 2008-2009 Vice Chair/Chair-Elect – Tom Connors was nominated and was elected unanimously. 

b. SAA 2009 LAR Program and Session Endorsement/Proposals 

i. Mr. Connors proposed a session on labor lore. 

ii. Mr. Hyslop suggested that we plan for 2010 and said he would email the listserv to bring up the discussion in early 2009. 

iii. Mr. Hyslop said he would solicit suggestions for the 2009 Roundtable meeting. 

c. Retreat at Wayne State University – Mike Smith (Wayne State University, Walter P. Reuther Library of Labor and Urban Affairs) is willing to host a labor archivist retreat at the Walter P. Ruther Library of Labor and Urban Affairs at Wayne State University.  The retreat will be in conjunction with The North American Labor History Conference in the Fall of 2009. 

d. LAR Listserv and Website Update 

i. The Listserv should be transferred to SAA from Cornell University.

ii. Mr. Patty is working on the website and asked for volunteers to assist him. 

e. LAR Records Project – SAA has an archivist and is collecting the records of its groups.  Mr. Hyslop will coordinate with the archivist to set up the Roundtable’s archives.  He will post the contact information on the listserv and explain how it is done. 

5. Presentations 

a. Lincoln Cushing talked about his book Agitate! Educate! Organize! – American Labor Posters and his website www.docspopuli.org.  He discussed the work involved with putting his book together and described some of the posters that appear in it.  Mr. Cushing made a plea to archivists to investigate how to easily digitize large format items and then do it.  The presentation was greatly appreciated and we look forward to the publication of this handsome book in 2009. 

b. David Walters described the website http://www.marxists.org/ he and his fellow volunteers from around the world  created.  He described the many security, political and user issues involved with the site.  Interestingly, the site has been shut down and blocked by governments.  Therefore the volunteers created mirror sites around the world to prevent this from happening again. 


Meeting Adjourned 

Following the annual meeting, Louis Prisco gave a walking tour of the 1934 Longshoremen’s strike and after the tour the group had dinner at Palomino’s. 

Respectfully submitted, 

Jordan Patty, Chair, 2007-2008 

John Hyslop, Chair, 2008-2009 


Completed projects/activities:  N/A 

Ongoing projects/activities: Michael Nash and Lauren Kata continue to work on the publication How to Keep Union Records, see 2008 meeting minutes for more detail 

New projects/activities: Mike Smith (Wayne State University, Walter P. Reuther Library of Labor and Urban Affairs) is willing to host a labor archivist retreat at the Walter P. Ruther Library of Labor and Urban Affairs at Wayne State University.  The retreat will be in conjunction with The North American Labor History Conference in the Fall of 2009.

Diversity initiatives: The roundtable collaborates with the International Council on Archives (ICA) Section for Business and Labor Archives.  Tom Connors is the roundtable’s liaison to the ICA. 

Questions/concerns for Council attention: The foremost concern expressed at the 2008 roundtable meeting was SAA’s 50 member requirement for its groups.  We strongly believe that this seemingly arbitrary number should not be a requirement for creating a SAA group.  A number of groups do not and cannot meet this requirement and should not be disqualified from forming one.